Lani Voivod | @LaniVoivod

YMCA Overnight CampsIt sounded like the best gig ever.

My 11-year-old son, Joe, would go to the YMCA‘s exceptional North Woods Camp for Boys for two whole weeks, while I would live with my bestie, Kate Lemay, who happens to be the Director of Programs for the Camp…as well as for the other three amazing Camps – Pleasant Valley Camp for Girls, Sandy Island Family Camp, and Laughing Loon Day Camp – that coexist on the nearly 300-acre property in Mirror Lake, NH, right on magnificent Lake Winnipesaukee.

Score!

Joe would play, learn, discover, make friends, try new things, and GROW in a safe and supportive environment, and I would soak it all in, take pictures and short videos, play with digital storytelling, and see how my content marketing and social media skills and experience might best serve the camps and their online visibility efforts.

My son would be away from home for the first time on his own, and I – I would be around. You know, just in case…because I’ve never let my child out of my sights for so long, and baby, it ain’t easy.

I’ve been here a week now, so I’ve got some tales to tell.

Grab a cup of bug juice and a s’more, and I’ll give you the dirt, as seen from the Mommy-lurking fringes of the first week of overnight camp.

First, I’d like to give a shout out to Mother Nature for setting the scene so divinely. Check-in was idyllic! Blue skies dotted with puffy clouds served as the backdrop as young men greeted their new campers and the parents and families who love them with warmth and ease. Within minutes, Joe was off playing ping pong, chatting away with a crew of other campers, and I lingered awkwardly for a few minutes until I finally acknowledged I was no longer needed (or wanted) there. Reluctantly, I left.

It was at this point that Kate told me I was to have as little contact with Joe as possible, to ensure he had the best camp experience. Hmmmm – I thought I was going to be able to cheat that system under the guise of Mommy Blogging? Alas, after a few lame attempts to shift her thinking on this, I agreed to behave “to the best of my ability.” (Ha! Notice how I built in the opportunity to cheat the system with that qualifier!)

Everything was great, though, and I was more than a little relieved.

YMCA Summer CampsEven though Joe is a picky eater, and he occasionally has trouble sleeping at new places, and he’s about as self-sufficient as a mollusk at a disco, every time I caught glimpses of him in the midst of his camp adventures, he looked like he was having a blast. And, MAN, this camp is all about bringin’ the FUN to lucky kids! Joe has been playing tennis, doing archery and riflery, hiking, and diving into the world of Magic: The Gathering, and other card games, with new friends. He’s also been playing epic games of full-field dodgeball, capture the flag, and countless other team challenges and feats of awesomeness. Other kids have been showing off their skills on the many basketball courts, going through the rigors of the YMCA lifeguard training and certification programs, horseback riding, waterskiing, building things, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and just being FREE, without the confines of parent supervision.

Then there’s this surprising element: The built-in mentorship part!

Every time I had the chance to talk to one of the teenagers – the LITs (Leaders-in-Training) and the CITs (Counselors-in-Training), they’ve blown me away with their presence and maturity. Four years, five years, eight years – these kids have been coming here since they were little lads, and now they’re psyched to show off their hard-won chops with the newbies and up-and-comers.

All of these seasoned gents had stories about how camp has helped them become stronger, smarter, and better human beings. What’s more, they really care about the younger boys, and they understand what a big influence they are on the campers, because they themselves are just a few years out of being one themselves. These sweet souls are here to help, guide, and support my son, and I love it! More than a few times I’ve felt my Mommy blood swirl with pride, whenever I see the teenagers taking campers aside to offer advice, listen to issues, and share their own experiences. It’s a beautiful thing to behold. Truly.

And then last night happened…

I was walking by the dining hall, and the boys were coming out. My Mommy senses perked up, and I found myself frantically scanning the landscape to find my son. Sure enough, there he was! He came running over to me – and I noticed his lower lip was trembling.

“Mom, I wanna go home.”

“What’s the matter? Is everything okay?”

“Yeah, I’m just really, REALLY homesick. I wanna go home.”

“Are you having fun?”

“Yes, I’m having fun – it’s not that. I just miss my bed. I’m having trouble sleeping. I miss you and Dad. I miss the house. I just wanna go home.”

Crap. His beautiful blue eyes were pleading with me behind a suspended sheet of tears.

“Let’s head to your cabin, Joe.”

As we walked, my efforts to reframe this situation for him sounded as useless and unconvincing to me as they surely did to him. No matter what I said – “You’re halfway through! Only a week left! You’re doing so many cool things! You’re meeting great friends! You’re living it up!” – he wanted none of it. I couldn’t hug him or press pause and let him just cry it out. He fought back the emotion with every bit of his being, but the more he talked, the worse it got.

Ultimately, I told him to talk to his counselors.

“No! I’m embarrassed. I don’t want them to know I’m feeling like this.”

“Go through the proper channels,” I said, forcing myself to keep a safe distance and show as little emotion as possible. “If your counselors think it best for you to leave, then I’ll be right up the road, and I’ll get the call.”

It’s now 24 hours since that conversation. No one has called. I have no idea what happened, who said what, or how anything was handled. I’m sitting in a restaurant with wifi, five miles away from camp, doing my best to stay away from Joe’s sights.

“Camp is fun, but camp is HARD, too, and no one talks about that.”

That’s what Kate said last night, as she was trying to console me. Kate’s been immersed in the YMCA’s philosophies, trainings, and passionate missions for 15 years. She went to overnight camp as a kid. She’s watched campers become beautiful and happy adults, and families return year after year to bond and play and grow together.

“Camp is where you grow, and growing isn’t always easy. You’re forced to figure things out on your own. You’re forced to ask for help from relative strangers, to get out of your comfort zone, to feel insanely uncomfortable and work through it. These kids are go-go-going all day long. They’re having a blast, and they’re mentally and physically exhausted. Many – if not most! – of them are missing home immensely. And yet, years later, they’ll credit camp as the place where they discovered their own strengths and mettle. This is where kids learn they’re much, MUCH stronger than they think they are. Once they realize they can – and do! – survive this time in one piece, they build confidence muscles that serve them their whole lives. They become incredible human beings, and camp is part of that evolution.”

 

Okay, Kate. I see it. I believe you. I get how this could be a wonderful thing AND horrible at the same time. Wonderful because my amazing first-born child needs an environment where he can spread his wings AND toughen up, amaze himself AND work through the chunks of fear and anxiety that chip away at his self-confidence.

And it’s horrible because growing IS hard. Parents know this – I know this! – and sending our beloved and trusting babies into the wolf den of tough love feels like taking a dive into a 12-foot deep pool of cow manure. Yes, this is hard for the kids, because two weeks can feel like 20 years when you’re feeling homesick and lonely and ready to call it quits.

Thing is, camp is hard for parents, too.

My husband and I miss our son. Now, it’s a little different in our situation because I’m living on camp property, and seeing me was the catalyst for Joe’s cracking. If I wasn’t at camp, I may have had an easier time choosing obliviousness over heart-wrenching worry, self-doubt, and cellular maternal aching.

But Kate tells me Joe is definitely not alone with his feelings. She’s had many phone calls with anxiety-ridden parents who received letters from their kids, saying they’re uncontrollably homesick, begging their parents to come pick them up.

Our only choice is to trust what the counselors and Directors and staff are telling us:

Our children are FINE. More than fine. They WILL get through this. And when they do, they’ll be better humans for it.

YMCA Camp Mission

In fact, it all comes down to one of my least favorite truths about life: The only way out is through. 

So my job as a parent is to allow my child to figure it out. The counselors are working their pitooties off to distract all the kids, keep them engaged and amused, active and busy. The setting is glorious, filled with fun and adventure and freedom.

I asked one of the 16-year-old counselors what he did or said to help first-time campers overcome their intense desire to quit camp early.

“I take a deck of cards, and ask the kid how many cards are in a deck. ‘Easy, 52!’ they’ll say to me. Then I take two of the cards and place them down next to rest of the deck. ‘See these cards? These represent weeks in a year. These two are the only two you have here at camp. The rest belong to school and your family and all the responsibilities of your life at home. These two camp weeks are the only time you get to be YOU, in a place designed exclusively for your maximum FUN. Can you see how little time you have here? Make the most of it! It’ll be over before you know it, and believe it or not, you’ll be wishing for what you’ve got here.’”

I’ve got one more card-week left.

Go Confidently in the Direction of Your DreamsThen I’ll be able to nurture and spoil and laugh with the 11-year-old kid in my life who’s becoming more of a man every day, whether I like it or not. As much as I’d like to think his family is all he needs to thrive in this life, I know this isn’t the case.

It’s a big world out there, and Joe needs a great toolbox of experiences and resources to draw upon to be successful – to be happy, healthy, confident, creative, centered, brave, positive, helpful, and connected to the power, magic, and mysteries of being a spiritual being having a human experience.

Luckily, this is exactly what the YMCA is famous for, worldwide. 

I didn’t get the call yet. I think he’s going to make it.

If he can make it, so can I.

(Though I sure do wish I had  a few camp songs and counselors in my arsenal to distract me!)

I'm going to the Live in Love Retreat - Join me!Two weeks from today I’ll be on an island on Lake Winnipesaukee with some really amazing people at the first-ever Live in Love Retreat. Some of these fabulous souls will have driven from Massachusetts, Maine, and Connecticut, and most of them will have trekked from different nooks and crannies around the Granite State.

Our time together will be filled with discovery and possibility, music and magic, laughter…and probably a few tears, too. Hey, tears happen when we unplug from our own hustle and bustle, allow ourselves to be open and [GASP!] vulnerable, and get connected – with our dreams, with our inner whispers, with our fellow weekend adventurers, and most of all, with our HEARTS.

I’m incredibly grateful to be leading two brand-new Breakout Sessions during this one-of-a-kind retreat. Here’s the first one:

The Power and Possibility of Living From the Heart

The heart is an amazing and vital muscle. It beats rhythmically, steadily, miraculously, from about 20 days after conception until the moment we take our last breath.

It’s also one of the most awesome untapped resources of our personal journeys, capable of might and miracles beyond our wildest imaginings.

My goals with this workshop are threefold:

During our time together, we’ll do exercises to open our hearts in new, safe, and enlightening ways, and really anchor its strengths and importance in our lives. I’ll share both scientific research and intuitive insights about how the heart can be our emotional, spiritual, and physical home base; how we can rely on it as our go-to consultant and connector; and how it can guide us and lead us to enjoy more passionate, powerful, intention-fueled, love-filled lives.

We spend so much time in our brains, drowning in our stress hormones, and taking cues from the wrong places and things and sources.

This workshop will be an homage to the heart chakra, and a chance to activate our superpowers, once and for all.

Becoming aware of the power of the heart as the ultimate ally to our most gorgeous and wondrous possibilities is a huge game changer. It’s also at the root of the very possible and pragmatic goal and opportunity to LIVE IN LOVE.

What’s the other workshop I’ll be leading, you ask?

Well, you can check out the title on the Live in Love Retreat Itinerary Page

And you’ll be able to read about it in my next blog post.

Of course, it would be wayyyyyyyyyy better for all of us if you’d come join the adventure and experience it in person, don’t you think? ;)

This is a teaser for the Retreat, with me and my co-creators in this journey: Christina Alexa, Kelly Lang, Kate Lemay, and Angela Sites-Georgiev. (Can’t see the video below? Watch it on YouTube!)

 

True Grit: A poem for battle-scarred biz owners, unsinkable entrepreneurs, and gritty spirits

Pulling, scratching, clawing my way

Back to the memories that worked

Ditching the gunk that didn’t

 

I am smarter than I let on

Even to myself

Especially to myself

 

Hardly hopeless, far from helpless

I sing, I feel, I know…

I let go…and move on.

 

New beginnings – that’s all that exist

Ahhh…but the twist!

Too hard to resist.

The old is what clings

It feels real, but it’s not.

 

I forgot.

 

Time to remember again

Grab a pen.

Let go…find flow…

And move on.

 

There are signs

There are tools

Sometimes there are rules

But only the fools play by them.

 

DEFY THEM.

 

Set up the scene.

Wipe the slate clean.

Let the past go…

And move on!

 

###

“What if…”

A 60-Day Juice Fast? Why the heck not. #Aha60That’s the whisper I heard in my gut last night as I slurped the last bit of my fourth juice of the day, a tomato-celery-rainbow peppers-carrot-parsley-lemon concoction I threw together as Allen read the fifth Harry Potter to our sons for the nightly bedtime reading ritual.

It was the end of my second day of consuming nothing but fruits and veggies churned out of my Breville juicer. I had planned on juicing for a day or maybe three, just to jumpstart a few other health goals I was putting into place. As always, the changes were a desperate effort to reverse the ridiculous 20 lb. weight gain I experienced after destroying my ACL and tearing my meniscus in February…

PLUS the 20 lb. weight gain that hitched a ride with my hips and buttocks as I forayed into motherhood…

Not to mention the soul-crushing 40 lb. weight gain I earned with impressive panache in my 20s.

But last night, when a few bold thoughts were vying for my attention, I heard – and felt – something different.

“What if I just commit to this crazy 60-day juice fast adventure? Heck, I like juicing. I’ve made it 11 days straight before, and I’m already two days into the game. Why not just do this thang?!” 

I checked in with myself and couldn’t find the usual scoff, or the fear, or the list of reasons objecting to such an arguably radical and slightly unconventional approach to change and transformation.

Nowhere in my gut was the drama or hesitation to such a “preposterous” idea.

In fact, all I could see, feel, and imagine was this head-smacking clarity of the choice, bolstered by an onslaught of benefits:

  • Swift and healthy weight loss (!!!! Woohoo!!!!)
  • Clear thinking
  • Full-throttle detoxification
  • Radiant skin
  • Increased energy
  • Feeding and flushing my cells with a glorious deluge of micronutrients
  • Reprogramming my mind, body, and taste buds to embrace and flourish with rock star nourishment once and for all
  • Achieving all the above and more in just Two. Short. Months.

Truth be told, I thought the experience, the whole unpredictable two-month experiment itself, sounded downright FUN.

Then I realized the best thing about this budding adventure.

Maybe, just maybe, I could inspire a few others along the way. After all, I’ve got this “A-Ha!” Blog, 1,300+ pals on Facebook, 300+ folks on Instagram, 1000+ peeps on Pinterest, and nearly 30K amigos on Twitter.

Throw in some wonderful connections on LinkedIn, Google+, and our various Epiphanies, Inc. social channels with the magic of algorithmic serendipity, and surely my journey will reach and positively impact at least a handful of seekers, dreamers, dieters, and doers.

Those of us who wrestle with weight do so much of it in our own private dungeons of doom. When we feel brave, bold, or even depleted and depressed enough to start poking around the Internet for answers, inspiration, hope, or possibilities, sometimes the most unexpected blip can become the spark that lights our fire toward fat freedom. I, personally, have spent hours and hours looking at myriad hashtag threads and Pinterest Boards for tips, stories, and fodder that might, somehow, nudge me in the right direction, and ideally serve as the catalyst for deep and lasting change.

I truly want to experience my life in a healthy, fit body.

The years of fight and misery around this area have been a doggone drag, and I’m sick of it all. For the first time in a long, long time, I can see a pathway to the next phase of my gig on Earth. My youngest has just started kindergarten. My knee’s mostly back in commission from April’s ACL surgery, which means I can hike again, do more than the stationary bike at the gym, and get back to my perfectly imperfect yoga practice. I’m not going on any big business trips during the next two months, and the high-calorie holiday season is outside of the 60-day Juice Zone.

Thus, the time has, at long last, finally arrived.

My Commitment, to Me and to You

Day by day, I will buy the produce, prep the produce, juice the produce, drink the produce, and clean the juicer.

I will exercise, sleep well, and laugh on a daily basis, meditate often, and do yoga at least twice a week.

I will take what I learned in Fat, Sick, and Nearly DeadForks Over KnivesFood MattersHungry for Change, and so many other passionate health documentaries and resources and apply it all to my exquisite reinvention.

Finally, I’ll share the journey in, on, and around my social-sphere with pictures, videos, updates, posts, and tweets, and let anyone interested peek into the process as they choose.

I’m on Day 3. The next 57 1/2 days will surely be a breeze… ;)

 

 

 

 

Day 31: Fulfilling Your Destiny [31 Days of Possibility]

 

Omigosh…omigosh…OMIGOSH…

WE MADE IT! WE’RE HERE!

We have arrived at the 31st day of these 31 Days of Possibility!

Wow, what a trip, huh?

I don’t know about you, but I sure wish there was a refresher of the territory we’ve covered, so we could kind of absorb the information in an easy flow. A convenient summary would be swell, don’t you think?

By golly, YES! I think that’s a terrific idea! Wait one minute…

[Running to grab Allen, the faithful hubby and editor...]

Okay, I’m back – and this is our lucky day, because Allen has agreed to help me go through the whole #31dop series, day by day, and help me pluck out a short idea and/or paragraph from each blog post that best captures the thrust and spirit of that day’s theme.

You know what’s especially cool about this? Our micro-process here, in doing this, is pretty much the same 3-step process that works in terms of FULFILLING OUR DESTINIES:

  1. We take some time to look back at where we’ve been, grab the highlights, notice the stuff that jumps out at us, step back, and see it all as the radiant and awesome unfolding story it is…
  2. Then, we arrive exactly where we’re at (in the NOW, if you will), so we can breathe, feel, consider, and tap into our Intuition for some guidance and direction, and especially a hint at what our next micromovement or action step may be.
  3. Finally, we Trust the Process yet again, and go toward the direction of our beautiful, wondrous, infinite Possibilities by taking that bold, joy-filled, INSPIRED ACTION!
All the thumbnail images are also links to the original blog posts, so if you feel like need or want to check out the whole post, or the video for that day, it’s all right there for you. Easy and fun, that’s my motto. :)

Okay, Piece of cake, right? Are you ready? Let’s go!!

 

Focus on POSSIBILITY…

…and your chances of seeing new solutions, connecting with awesome like-minded collaborators, and exploring great new opportunities increases exponentially. Possibility: it’s infinite, man!

More than anything…

…Trusting the Process is an exercise in SURRENDERING. So breathe, and Trust the Process. Manage expectations. Learn the Yogic art of “Observation without judgment.” And adopt a new favorite phrase: “How fascinating!”

By taking bold, joy-filled action…

…based on your God-given flash of insight, you’re granted a Portal of Possibility. Walk through this portal, and the course of your life shifts toward a different outcome, one that’s more aligned with your purpose and destiny than ever before.

To choose POSSIBILITY means…

…to see things that may not yet exist, to know things in your heart that you can’t explain with words, and to let go of ideas and beliefs that no longer serve you, even as many around you try to keep you in the safe, comfortable padded cell of “Reality.”  (“Reality.” Ha! What a joke!)

The thing is…

…you have to open up. You have to believe. You have to choose, time and time again, to play on the side of your infinite possibilities. You have to trust the brilliant minds, thinkers, dreamers, and thought leaders who have come before you and spent their lives seeking, studying and learning about this thing called “PURPOSE.” And most of all, you have to learn to trust YOU.

If you want to open yourself up…

…to interesting, remarkable, unimaginable possibilities, you simply have to pay attention to what you’re putting out into the world, tweak as necessary, and spread your vibe with singular confidence, commitment, and flair.

The Hero’s Journey is…

…an archetype embedded in our human psyches, deep in the mysterious goop of our beings. This structure is popular not because of the stories that were built from it, but because it is IN US. We feel this, we know this, on some level or another.

As a seeker of Possibility, a dreamer, a trailblazer…

As someone who is ready to be the storyteller of his own life, the bold and bodacious hero of her own story, may I make this gentle suggestion: Do everything in your power to learn how to harness and channel and direct and celebrate that beautiful, mysterious, miraculous Energy of yours.

It’s time to let all that go…

It’s time to say thank you for everything that has come before us, for all the struggles, all the memories, all the unique incidents that have made us what we are today, and to let it go, like a kite in the wind, like a bubble from a wand.

Then, and only then, can we step through our Portals of Possibility, and step into the lives we wish to create today from the place of who we actually are, from the experiences we have carved, that have strengthened us, nurtured us, and trained us to fulfill our glorious destinies.

Visionaries will find a way…

…not to prove others wrong, but to fulfill the yearnings and stirrings of their own hearts and minds. Visionaries don’t fret over the resources or lack thereof. They don’t spend an ounce of their time citing limitations or crying over spilt milk. They’re all business, even when (and often especially when) they look happy, engaged, and free. Visionaries may ask for permission, but only as a courtesy. They care little about it, because they know nothing – NO THING – will stand in the way of their version of what should be.

So following our BLISS…

…is recognized by the ancients as a true and specific way to dive into “the ocean of transcendence,” and move into the space of infinite POSSIBILITIES. To follow our BLISS is to be driven by PASSION so lovely and fierce it happily and willingly ignores all obstacles, heightens our senses, and forges for us a space of creativity, delight, and flowwwwwwww.

If we play in our minds long enough…

…with enough passion, intention, joy, and playfulness, our neurotransmitters cannot differentiate between what actually happened in our lives vs. what we’d like to happen. Thus, they can can – and often will! – create opportunities and make connections where none existed before. IF we choose to play, and take advantage of this mind-blowing situation.

Creativity is in us…

…because we’re human. We’re ALIVE. The urge, ability, and impulse to create are part of our biological makeup. Our bodies themselves are in a constant state of creation – systems working together, cells multiplying, synapses triggering actions, absorbing information and input, then processing it all so it can interact with and/or reenter the world in new ways and forms.

Our dreams are like…

…our soul’s Switzerland. They serve as the safe, neutral in-between land where we can work out our fears, explore our fascinations, and dive into ideas that may or may not be acceptable for public expression or consumption. They’re essential to our own growth and evolution as human beings, and they’re goldmines of inner wisdom, guidance, creativity, and POSSIBILITY for our waking selves.

We are entering the domain…

…of The Social Realm. Ten years ago, five years ago, even two years ago – different worlds, different rules. Now changeadaptation, and adoption – of communication stylings, technology, human interaction, societal expectations – have all been turned on their heads many hundreds of times, and all we can do is hang on with white knuckles and a smile, and hope for a clean change of panties, if and when necessary.

The proliferation of ideas…

…and information via the Internet has empowered the curious and talented to branch out further and faster than ever before. Discovery is about being reached by the people destined to reach you, and then giving back by choosing to be a co-creator of advancing ideas, stimulating minds, and turning your passions into consumable data in some form or another.

To tap into the might and magic…

 …of making Conscious Connections, we must have a deep trust and faith in the idea that more is going on than meets the eye right now. Yes, NOW. Literally.

We must also know that small acts of kindness and consciousness, especially when done with Intention, DO MATTER. We are ENERGY. We are vibrational beings existing together in this world, and even something as simple as clicking “LIKE’ or sharing positive and powerful art and ideas across our social channels builds over time. It nudges the overall trajectory of human evolution and potential.

Have you ever been positively STUNNED…

…by the information or resources that find you, or the people or communities you happen to come across at exactly the right moment in time? Allen and I call it QUANTUM SERENDIPITY. Led by our instincts, fueled by our energy, nudged by our emotions, and catapulted by the ever-optimized algorithms, we meet the right people, find the best resources, attract the perfect opportunities. Part math, part mindset, and part magic, QUANTUM SERENDIPITY is what brought this blog post to you today.

There’s the world as we think it is…

…as it appears in front of us, in its natural form. And there’s the world through the lens of Mobile Magic. This is where moments and places and people are captured, colored, played with, altered, and manipulated based on the viewers’ point of view – psychologically, spiritually, literally, and emotionally.

Allies see you…

…they get you, on a cosmic level. They recognize when you’re doing something more than just your job, and they let you know it matters, even when (and especially when) you may not be able to see the forest through the trees. Allies create opportunities for you, send clients your way, invent scenarios where you can shine, and use their own talents, position, and circumstances to expand and amplify your POSSIBILITIES here on planet Earth.

Vigilant Positivity is…

…an iron-fisted decision to do everything you can to spend the rest of your living moments choosing light instead of darkness, levity instead of melodrama, and love instead of fear.
 

When we shift…

…into a spirit of Gratitude, we become a self-feeding machine of perpetual love, grace, awareness, humility, humanity, and yes, POSSIBILITY.

Day 23: Belief [31 Days of Possibility]

Our Beliefs are the gatekeepers…

…of our Possibility. They are the bouncers of our Ultimate Possibility Party. They are the things that either allow us to pass through to the life of our dreams, or they keep us playing small, spiritually bankrupt, in pain, unfulfilled, and all the while thinking we don’t have a choice.

Day 24: Fearlessness (Ha!) [31 Days of Possibility]

Our Possibilities exist…

…outside of our comfort zones. Anything could happen out there! The ego’s whole identity is wrapped up in staying the same, what is a known quantity, and how things are, in the most unthreatening one-dimensional box available. Fear keeps us semiconscious, even sound asleep, cowering from scenes and situations that will probably never, ever happen.

NOW is where all the groovy stuff is. Seriously…

…worrying about the future is pointless, because the future doesn’t exist – you can only think about the future NOW. Obsessing over the past is useless, because it is nothing more than a memory – a memory you’re thinking about NOW. The ONLY thing that exists is this very moment, the one that’s happening to you RIGHT NOW. This is the way it always has been, and this is the way it always will be.

Tapping into our Intuition…

…is about seeing, feeling, sensing, and processing patterns, both in the vast world around us and in the cosmic soup of our rich inner universes. Our linear minds tell us a fraction of our “realities.” Intuition is an enlightened intelligence that flows far beyond and through our allegedly rational minds. Ideas collide. Experiences mesh. Patterns emerge. We see them, feel them, and KNOW THEM. We’ve pressed the override button long enough. We must re-learn how to honor our intuitive gifts – our intuitive ways of being – and let them guide us to and through the lives we were born to live.

Meditation is…

…melting into your body and ALLOWING sensations to happen as they will. It’s understanding your BREATH is an ever-present tool and resource for you that you can return to any time, no matter the situation, no matter what else is going on…AND your breath is filling you up with the same air that’s been exhaled by trees, caressed by mountain tops, lavished by moonlight, and given to you by some unseen force that wanted you to experience these lush and precious moments in the land of the living.

Day 28: Leadership [31 Days of Possibility]

Chances are…

…you have the vision, courage, passion, stubbornness, stamina, creativity, curiosity, flexibility, originality, and heretical insanity to step up and take your place as a bona fide Leader in this hyper-evolving world. The time is NOW. Not five years from now or even five minutes from now, but N-O-W. You can’t wait for permission, though. You have to step up to the plate. Seriously, if you feel a tug to lead, don’t ignore it. Make a decision, say “Yes,” and commit to taking action.

Day 29: Playing Your Game [31 Days of Possibility]

When we’re PLAYING our own GAME…

…we’re entering all moments, scenes, and situations like an improv ninja. We’re on high alert for opportunities that inspire us, engage us, and attract our attentions on a visceral level. We use our Spidey senses to feel out where our skills and talents may best be used, and how we could enhance moments and outcomes for others.

If you’re serious…

…about finding your Portals of Possibility and walking through them to create and discover the beautiful, joy-filled, adventure-ridden life you want and deserve, YOU MUST TAKE ACTION. It’s always, ALWAYS best if it’s Inspired Action. Joy-filled action. Action with a purpose. Action driven by an impulse within you to play, create, grow, love, live, share, reach, connect, expand, ignite, or cause a ruckus.

Day 31: Fulfilling Your Destiny [31 Days of Possibility]

And now the time has come…

…to FULFILL YOUR DESTINY! You know what it is. Don’t be afraid! Check in with that crazy-powerful heart of yours. Listen to the whispers. Feel the tugs. Believe in the best, most happy and inspired version of yourself and your life. What are you doing? What action could you take today to get you one step closer to where you know you’re meant to be? Do it! Own your future! Walk through the Portal! Feel the trajectory of your life shift toward the direction of your Infinite Possibilities!

Feel it and know it and believe it, everyday. See the scenes in your head, feel the gratitude in your heart. Honor the guidance of your Bliss.

You’ve got this thing.

Wahhooooo!!!!

Please, don’t be shy, let me know what kinds of action you took, big or small. Keep me informed of your journey. Share your victories with me! I would LOVE to hear from you. I said it before and I’ll say it again - it’s been all about you from the beginning.

I’m inspired to sign off with a couple of clips from one of my all-time favorite books: Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, by Dr. Seuss:

You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself

any direction you choose.

You’re on your own. And you know what you know.

And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

And  will you succeed?

Yes! You will, indeed!

(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!

 

Hey. THANK YOU. I’ve truly enjoyed our journey together. You’ve been a wonderful companion.

So here’s the video for Fulfilling Your Destiny. Peace out, don’t be a stranger, and I’ll see you in the Vortex of Being, Knowing, and Doing! ;)

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Have you enjoyed this 31 Days of Possibility series? Why not share it with your friends and favorite connections so they can go on this adventure and expand their own possibilities! Share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram – wherever you like to connect and play the most. 

And if you’d like to connect with us on any of these channels, please make it happen! 

You can find us on Twitter at @LaniVoivod@AllenVoivod@EpiphaniesInc@AhaSummit, and @AhaYourself. Plus, you’re always welcome to ask questions, give feedback, and share some of your own experiences (and hopefully your big “A-Ha!” victories along the way), here in the comments, and on the Epiphanies, Inc. Facebook Page. Allen and I love to hear from you. Here’s to you and your vast and wondrous possibilities!

INSPIRED action. No pressure, right?

We’re already time-crunched and feeling overwhelmed by the choices at our disposal and the tools and resources always throwing themselves at us:

  1. How the heck do we decide what to do in the measly amount of time on our hands…
  2. How the heck do we make sure it’s “INSPIRED”???

Great news! Not only isn’t it as hard as it sounds, it is best when it’s EASY. Not just “not a pain in the neck,” but “EEEEAAASSSYYYY!”

Here’s what you need to know about Inspired Action:

  1. It feels GOOD. Inside. At your core. In your heart. Through your spirit. If there’s a twinkle in your eye or an upturn in your lips when you’re thinking about the Action in question, it’s likely of the Inspired sort.
  2. It feels EASY. Your focus is not on the barriers or the time or the inconvenience or the pain or logistics involved. Your focus shifts to your creative happy place, where everything feels like it can be done lickety-split, whether it actually winds up taking 30 seconds or three hours.
  3. It feels FUN. There’s a giddiness that accompanies it. Suddenly you’re transported to the YOU of 5-10 years old, where you could grab a stick and a rock and be fine for hours, or build a pioneer homestead with your Lincoln Logs for your Barbie Dolls, or play in your blanket fort and know it’s a castle or a spaceship or an igloo, and time didn’t matter, and there were no doubts or critics or naysayers or Opinionators to cramp your style or taint your trip.

Whether you’ve checked out one or all blog posts and/or one or all videos for this 31 Days of Possibility series, you must know this:

If you’re serious about finding your Portals of Possibility and walking through them to create and discover the beautiful, joy-filled, adventure-ridden life you want and deserve, YOU MUST TAKE ACTION.

It’s always, ALWAYS best if it’s Inspired Action. Joy-filled action. Action with a purpose. Action driven by an impulse within you to play, create, grow, love, live, share, reach, connect, expand, ignite, or cause a ruckus.

Our feelings lead us. As we get better and better at Trusting the Process, our instincts and Intuition show us the way.

We’ve been trained to think “HARD” is a virtue. We’ve been convinced by our family, colleagues, and culture to put a premium on struggle and sacrifice and wheel-spinning toil, and to believe they’re the way of the worthy citizen.

These traits, these choices, work for some people. If you’re exploring and hoping to amplify your POSSIBILITIES, there’s a good chance you are not, authentically, one of these people.

Neither am I.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll work my butt off – IF I love what I’m doing. If I don’t love what I’m doing, I get sad, resentful, angry, bitter, confused, spiteful, resistant, negative, rotten, squirmy, sarcastic, and eventually, depressed. It feels wrong, it doesn’t work, and I know it’s a waste of my time on this Earth.

I know this is not what was intended for me, and I know YOU should not be sad, resentful, angry, bitter, confused, spiteful, resistant, negative, rotten, squirmy, sarcastic, and eventually, depressed, either.

Inspired Action is taking the ball and running with an idea, project, or mission when no one asked you to…and loving every minute of it.

It’s stepping outside of your comfort zone and deciding to: Pick up the dusty guitar, call the realtor, dig out your old watercolor paints, write an email to an editor, choose the fabric for your curtains, show your boss the plan you sketched out last weekend, book a much-needed vacation, invite a mentor to lunch, upload a photo to Facebook that shows you in flow doing whatever it is you do best…etc. etc. etc.

Inspired Action is YOU aligned with your Purpose,  Vision, Passion, and Possibilities.

It’s an inside job. You know it when you feel it. And when you feel it, you gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta GOTTA do something about it!

You gotta do something!

Do SOMETHING!

TAKE ACTION!

That’s the game.

Get the message, feel the nudge – then train yourself to evaluate the scene so fast and with such confidence that whatever you decide to do next is without a shadow of a doubt the exact right thing for you to do.

We’re the conduits of ideas and Possibilities. We hang out on this planet while the ever-flowing stream of  Universal Intelligence flows right over our heads, around our bodies, through our homes and habitats, just waiting for the right body to heed its needs and feel its desires.

Be ready. Be the body. Be the conduit. Let the intention fulfill its destiny!

 

Sometimes taking Inspired Action is nothing more than watching a quick video about Taking Inspired Action. Here ya go!

 

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Enjoying this 31 Days of Possibility series? Why not share it with your friends and favorite connections so they can go on this adventure with you and expand their own possibilities! Share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram – wherever you like to connect and play the most. 

And if you’d like to connect with us on any of these channels, please make it happen! 

You can find us on Twitter at @LaniVoivod@AllenVoivod@EpiphaniesInc@AhaSummit, and @AhaYourself. Plus, you’re always welcome to ask questions, give feedback, and share some of your own experiences (and hopefully your big “A-Ha!” victories along the way), here in the comments, and on the Epiphanies, Inc. Facebook Page. Allen and I love to hear from you. Here’s to you and your vast and wondrous possibilities!

Day 29: Playing Your Game [31 Days of Possibility]

 

“In knowledge work we need to manage for creativity – in effect, we don’t want predictability so much as breakthrough ideas, which are inherently unpredictable. … So if a team wants to truly create, there is simply no way to precisely define the goal in advance, because there are too many unknowns. Embarking on this kind of project is akin to a voyage of discovery: like Columbus, you may begin your journey by searching for a route to India, but you might find something like America; completely different, but perhaps more valuable.” – Gamestorming

 

It is quite likely there are several – if not dozens – of people who have an idea of what you should do with your resources, in your job, with your talents, in your life.

Some of these passionate Opinionators may be people you love and respect, perhaps family members, spouses, great friends from childhood, mentors, teachers, and/or even your own children.

Others may be bosses, coworkers, members of your community or bridge club or Facebook cliques.

Today, let’s do something together.

Let’s close our eyes and hold these people in our hearts for a moment. Then, let’s breathe in, and say to their little heart-surrounded avatars, “Thank you so much for your opinion. I really appreciate you taking the time to think about me, and to spend your attention and energy considering what I should do with my time, talents, resources, and life.”

(Let’s try our best to say this with loving kindness, instead of bitterness, resentment, anger, spite, or scathing sarcasm, okay?)

Now, let’s exhale. Ahhhhhhh……

Then let’s open our eyes, smile, and walk forward to the beat of our own drum, in the direction our own heart (5,000 times more energetically powerful than our minds, remember!). Let’s head toward the light, so to speak, where our soul and Intuition truly want us to go.

It’s time to PLAY our own GAME, and it’s time to realize it’s up to us to make it the only game in town.

Think about it:

We’re here together because we’re willing Pioneers of Possibility.

To truly subscribe to the path of our infinite and infinitely wondrous Possibilities, I think it’s essential we agree to embrace this idea of PLAY.

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

It's a happy talent to know how to play!

 

The power of PLAY, as a mindset and a success strategy, cannot be overestimated. The Play instinct is fueled by a sense of wonder and levity, and celebrates the virtues of Creativity, Imagination, Storytelling, and Discovery.

When we’re PLAYING our own GAME, we’re entering all moments, scenes, and situations like an improv ninja. We’re on high alert for opportunities that inspire us, engage us, and attract our attentions on a visceral level. We use our Spidey senses to feel out where our skills and talents may best be used, and how we could enhance moments and outcomes for others.

Sometimes we’re stealthy, like a good game of Capture the Flag, or Hide and Go Seek. Other times, we’re right out in front for all the world to see (and maybe even target), like Dodgeball.

Whatever the environment, though, we trust our own instincts, and know we’re nimble enough and resilient enough to handle whatever life doles out.

Most importantly, we’re committed to having as much FUN along the way as humanly possible.

PLAYING our own GAME means focusing on our strengths instead of our weaknesses, and using our values, Vision, and sense of Purpose to guide us to the best outcomes possible.

It means Letting Go…Allowing Flow… and rising above the constant stream of noise created by all those adorable Opinionators, naysayers, spectators, and peanut gallery dwellers who chime in about our spectacular unfolding journeys.

No one needs to know what you’re doing or why you’re doing it except you.

Now, it’s FANTASTIC if you decide to share some of your Game Plan with your trusted Allies, but it’s not necessary. Sometimes – especially for us Possibility Pioneers – the things we do and the reasons we do them have little or nothing to do with logic or perceived “reality.” If and when we try to explain ourselves, something as plebian as “language” simply may not cut it. We’re doing our best to live out the stories and callings of our hearts and souls, after all. They speak to us on different levels, from different dimensions.

Still, it’s our divine blessing and responsibility to honor our own journey, and to know deep in the core of our beings that we’re being nudged and led, called and fueled by other magical and mysterious forces than the ones commonly and comfortably addressed by mainstream culture.

So we’re on a covert mission: to heed the call, Trust the Process, and PLAY our own GAME.

And PLAY we will!

5 Fabulous Resources for PLAYING Our Own GAME

As Pioneers of Possibility, sometimes it can feel like we’re all alone at this dance party. WE ARE NOT. In fact, I’ve got five great books that prove this, and can offer insights, opinions, tips, resources, and guidance when we’re feeling particularly OUT THERE on our own CRAZY adventure.

Here they are, in no particular order:

1)   Improv Wisdom: Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up, by Patricia Ryan Madson

2)   Make Your Creative Dreams Real: A Plan for Procrastinators, Perfectionists, Busy People, and People Who Would Rather Sleep All Day, by SARK

3)   Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving With Grace, by Gordon MacKenzie

4)   The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, by Timothy Ferriss

5)   Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers, by Dave Gray, Sunni Brown, and James Macanufo

Great books, all of them.

PLAY ON!

Here’s the video for Day 29: Playing Your Game!

 

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Enjoying this 31 Days of Possibility series? Why not share it with your friends and favorite connections so they can go on this adventure with you and expand their own possibilities! Share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram – wherever you like to connect and play the most. 

And if you’d like to connect with us on any of these channels, please make it happen! 

You can find us on Twitter at @LaniVoivod@AllenVoivod@EpiphaniesInc@AhaSummit, and @AhaYourself. Plus, you’re always welcome to ask questions, give feedback, and share some of your own experiences (and hopefully your big “A-Ha!” victories along the way), here in the comments, and on the Epiphanies, Inc. Facebook Page. Allen and I love to hear from you. Here’s to you and your vast and wondrous possibilities!

Day 28: Leadership [31 Days of Possibility]

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

“Enlightened leadership is spiritual if we understand spirituality not as some kind of religious dogma or ideology but as the domain of awareness where we experience values like truth, goodness, beauty, love and compassion, and also intuition, creativity, insight and focused attention.” – Deepak Chopra

“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.” – Max DePree

I suppose there are a lot of books on Leadership. As far as these 31 Days of Possibility goes, though, there’s only one:

Tribes, by Seth Godin.

Have you read it?

It’s a tiny little book, just 151 pages. Practically fits in the palm of your hands. But it seems to be the only book that really gets it, in terms of what’s truly possible in our world, like, RIGHT NOW, for you, for me, for us.

Godin speaks of heretics and leverage, movements and the importance of BELIEF. He talks about the rejiggering of power, production, and progress, and how tools and resources used to facilitate conversations, attract like minds, and ignite revolutions are no longer perks of the elite, but completely accessible by whomever cares enough to use them.

At the heart of it, though, he’s talking directly to anyone who knows there’s a better way to live, work, dream, create, innovate, captivate, connect, and communicate, and is willing to do something about it.

Is that you?

Since you’re here, whether you’ve gone day by day though these 31 Days of Possibility, or you’ve followed a few rabbit holes to be here now for the first time, then it most likely IS you.

Congrats! You’ve arrived at your station. Destination? Anywhere you dang well want to go.

I plucked a few of my favorite messages and sentences from my copy of Tribes and plopped them into my DipTic app on my iPhone, so you could see what I think represents the thrust of this spunky little manifesto.

Quotes from Tribes, by Seth Godin

So tell me, did this little Leadership collage speak to you?

Did those tiny collections of words reach out and grab hold of your throbbing heart, or zip into your eyeballs for instant access to your buzzing and swirling neural pathways?

Do you get it? Does it feel good? Are you curious? Intrigued? Compelled?

If not, don’t sweat it. Not everyone is born to be a Leader, and that’s okay. Sometimes a passionate follower is the best person to be to secure the success of any cause or mission, as demonstrated by this FANTASTIC video narrated by Derek Sivers: How to Start a Movement.

But if you felt the tug, listen to your gut. It knows you best.

Chances are, you have the vision, courage, passion, stubbornness, stamina, creativity, curiosity, flexibility, originality, and heretical insanity to step up and take your place as a bona fide Leader in this hyper-evolving world.

The time is NOW.

Not five years from now or even five minutes from now, but N-O-W.

You can’t wait for permission, though. You have to step up to the plate. Seriously, if you felt the tug, don’t ignore it. Make a decision, say “Yes,” and commit to taking action.

The rules simply don’t exist anymore. Technology has leveled the playing field. The greatest assets you can bring to any idea bash are Energy, Passion, and Creativity.

Turn your Mindset on “Vigilant Positivity” mode, and step through your Portal of Possibility.

It’s so cliché to say this, I know, but seriously: There has never, ever, EVER been a better time to play to your strengths, amplify your Imagination, stir up the status quo, DREAM BIG, cause a ruckus, and shake what your mama gave you.

Everything you need to succeed is at your disposal, and will make itself available when the time arrives.

Trust it. Believe it. Go for it!

As Seth Godin says and I totally agree:

“We need you to lead us!”

Check out the video for Day 28: Leadership!

 

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P.S. Just in case you need a bit more of a nudge to heed your life’s call, these leaders have a few choice words for you:

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John Maxwell

“A leader is a dealer in hope.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” – Jack Welch

“Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” – Peter Drucker

“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” – John Maxwell

“The leadership instinct you were born with is the backbone. You develop the funny bone and the wishbone that go with it.” – Elaine Agather

“We know that leadership is very much related to change. As the pace of change accelerates, there is naturally a greater need for effective leadership.” – John Kotter

“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” – John D. Rockefeller

Enjoying this 31 Days of Possibility series? Why not share it with your friends and favorite connections so they can go on this adventure with you and expand their own possibilities! Share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram – wherever you like to connect and play the most. 

And if you’d like to connect with us on any of these channels, please make it happen! 

You can find us on Twitter at @LaniVoivod@AllenVoivod@EpiphaniesInc@AhaSummit, and @AhaYourself. Plus, you’re always welcome to ask questions, give feedback, and share some of your own experiences (and hopefully your big “A-Ha!” victories along the way), here in the comments, and on the Epiphanies, Inc. Facebook Page. Allen and I love to hear from you. Here’s to you and your vast and wondrous possibilities!

 

 

Let’s be clear: I am NOT the right person to teach you about “Meditation” as most of us think about it. And by “Meditation” I mean the serious, very stoic, extremely sacred and fancy stereotype of Mediation, where someone is sitting still on a cushion in the middle of a candlelit room for hours, incense burning, in a state of exquisitely centered “Om.”

No no – this is NOT me. If that’s who or what you’re looking for, please, run the other way, pronto.

However, due to the hack job of somewhat-unfounded (but wildly passionate) opinions I’m about to unleash, I may be the perfect person to demystify this whole Meditation thing, at the risk of offending trained Meditation experts and practitioners who actually know what they’re talking about.

The reason I’m passionate about Meditation, and why I’m including it here in the 31 Days of Possibility, is three-fold:

1)   I am ONE MILLION PERCENT CERTAIN it’s essential to a healthy, balanced, creative, sanity-leaning life, especially in our nutso, hyper-stimulated, turbo-track world.

2)   I wish someone had demystified the very intimidating and darn near ludicrous stereotype of Meditation for me several years – if not decades – ago.

3)   I truly believe Meditation is the way to ACCESS INFINITY.

So while I know “Mediation” as presented in its most ceremonial sense is a fine and achievable practice for many millions of people around the globe, and there are countless gurus and enlightened resources to teach you this formal version if its your cup of herbal tea…

I’m coming at this as a working 40-year-old wife and mother of two young boys who struggles to find 10 minutes a day to sit still in a quiet place…

Even though I believe Meditation is the way to ACCESS INFINITY.

“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.” – William Blake

Okay, so there’s this New Yorker cartoon: Two monks are sitting side by side, meditating. The younger one is looking a bit perplexed. The older one responds, “Nothing happens next. This is it.”

This is the part about Meditation I wish I had understood. Just like Seinfeld was a show about nothing, Meditation is an ACTIVITY about nothing! So naturally, most of us who try it (or watch someone else try it) for a few minutes at some point in our lives will not understand its purpose or value, and will abandon it altogether as freakish hippy hogwash. (And that’s the best-case scenario.)

To make matters worse, no one bothers to tell Meditation newbies and novices that the incessant chatter in our minds is not only okay, but NORMAL. Not only is it normal, it is the very reason Mediation is so darn important to adopt and make part of our daily (or weekly) lives, just like brushing our teeth, or posting on Instagram.

It seems to me Meditation is simply a way of letting the mind know who’s boss.

When it comes to understanding the value and purpose of Meditation, I’ve always appreciated the analogy of water. Our minds are like rough seas – lots of choppy water, so much activity on the surface. There’s no chance of seeing anything but liquid chaos.

Meditation gives our minds a chance to settle down, to relax, so suddenly they’re not rough seas anymore, they’re the crystal clear blue-green waters of the Caribbean – and you can see right to the bottom without effort. All those lovely sea shells, and that pristine sand – all right there, ready for your toes whenever you want to sink ‘em in there.

A Quick Story of When I Lost My Meditation Virginity…

One day when I was in my 20s, a wonderful friend and mentor I knew in Los Angeles asked me if I wanted to go to a gathering of Quakers she attended every week. She said it was a group meditation, and explained everyone simply sat there in a room in silence, and if anyone was moved to share anything, that’s what they did.

Always a curious sort up for a new experience, I said yes.

(Besides, I figured she was oversimplifying – that couldn’t possibly be all that really went on.)

Turns out, YES, that was really all that went on! We sat there, for 45 minutes, in group silence, with the occasional person breaking the silence to share something unpredictable – from the off-handed observation about weather to intimate confessions about health issues, prayer requests, lost loves, career concerns, and well wishes for the folks present.

It was the longest 45 minutes of my life.

But now, nearly fifteen years later, I get it. (Kind of.) That was one of their preferred modes of Meditation. Some people like meditating in groups, and that’s fabulous.

Others like guided meditation, mantra meditation, mindfulness mediation, Transcendental Meditation, Qigong, yoga, Tai Chi, and other active meditations, like hiking, fishing, painting, sewing, doodling, knitting, swimming, chopping vegetables, or golfing, I suppose.

Just know the goal is to train your mind to settle and become the still, crystal-clear Caribbean waters as much as possible.

Like so many things in life, it’s very Yoda-esque: You do or do not. There is no “Try.”

There’s no way to do it “wrong.” So many people say, “Oh, I can’t meditate…” or “Yeah, I do it wrong.” No, you don’t! It’s just no one ever told you it really is like the New Yorker cartoon – it’s just sitting there, BEING.

Yes, some people do and will have Earth-shattering visions, epiphanies, and experiences during which their whole worldviews are transformed. But this is not the norm, nor should it be the goal. (After all, once you start thinking your Meditation session is only good if there’s a grand prize of spontaneous enlightenment attached, you’re not dwelling in The Now anymore, are you?)

“Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts in Eternal awareness or Pure consciousness without objectification, knowing without thinking, merging finitude in infinity.” - Voltaire

Even though Voltaire just made it sound all intense and serious, Meditation is nothing more or less than giving your mind a chance to gently let go of the constant stream of input that bombards it all day.

It’s melting into your body and ALLOWING sensations to happen as they will.

It’s understanding your BREATH is an ever-present tool and resource for you that you can return to any time, no matter the situation, no matter what else is going on…AND your breath is filling you up with the same air that’s been exhaled by trees, caressed by mountain tops, lavished by moonlight, and given to you by some unseen force that wanted you to experience these lush and precious moments in the land of the living.

It’s NOTICING all the thoughts coursing through your head, and being centered and trusting and peaceful and courageous enough to watch as the thoughts float away like fluffy clouds in a bright blue sky on a warm and beautiful day.

I say “courageous” because one of the hardest things to do is to let thoughts go when they come into your mind as to-do’s and lists and forgotten tasks, or ideas for creative ventures that you swear you’ll never be able to think up again if you don’t stop meditating and write it down.

Your mind does everything it can to recapture your undivided attention.

Once you realize this, it’s easier to smile at your overactive mind like a parent to a small, attention-hungry, interrupting child, and give it a much-needed break in the timeout chair.

Your mind must learn to give you some space, and let you settle into your human body without its obsessive companionship, so miracles may flow through you when the time is right.

And miracles WILL flow.

In the forms of elevated Intuition, blips of Quantum Serendipity, rediscovered pockets of Creativity, re-ignited bouts of Imagination, reconnected feelings to Your Purpose, Vision, and Passion, and noticeable boosts of Energy, miracles will flow.

In order for the wisdom and magic of the Universe to use your airfield, you have to clear off the landing strip. Meditation clears the way so you can receive your precious cargo.

To INFINITY and beyond!

(I had to go there.) :)

 

Get your “Om” on with Lani in this quick “Accessing Infinity With Meditation” video:

 

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Enjoying this 31 Days of Possibility series? Why not share it with your friends and favorite connections so they can go on this adventure with you and expand their own possibilities! Share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram – wherever you like to connect and play the most. 

And if you’d like to connect with us on any of these channels, please make it happen! 

You can find us on Twitter at @LaniVoivod@AllenVoivod@EpiphaniesInc@AhaSummit, and @AhaYourself. Plus, you’re always welcome to ask questions, give feedback, and share some of your own experiences (and hopefully your big “A-Ha!” victories along the way), here in the comments, and on the Epiphanies, Inc. Facebook Page. Allen and I love to hear from you. Here’s to you and your vast and wondrous possibilities!

 

Intuition is seeing with the soul.” – Dean Koontz

“A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something.” – Frank Capra 

“If prayer is you talking to God, then intuition is God talking to you.” –Dr. Wayne Dyer

[WARNING: My Intuition told me to write the following blog post in this way. Considering the subject matter, I had no choice but to take its advice and follow it accordingly…]

I’ve been calling them “rabbit holes” lately.

These nudges I’m compelled to follow, these hunches I have to act on RIGHT NOW that look and feel a lot like a bad case of OCD. These meandering zig-zags of ideas, resources, and people…

“Rabbit holes,” you probably already know, is a vague reference to Alice in Wonderland’s compulsion to chase the neurotic white rabbit…

Which makes me think of Keanu Reeves in The Matrix and how he started his tattoo-following adventure…

Which brings me to today’s topic of 31 Days of Possibility: Tapping Into Your Intuition.

“The only real valuable thing is intuition,” said Albert Einstein. He was a huge believer and proponent of our ability to make decisions from a much deeper and logic-rebelling place than the brain…

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” – Albert Einstein

So many incredible thinkers, innovators, trailblazers, and champions of POSSIBILITY seem to agree with Einstein’s rapturous view of Intuition and its place in our creative process.

But what exactly is this “Intuition” thing, and why should we care?

Well, if you’re Deepak Chopra, you’d explain it this way:

“Synchronicity is choreographed by a great, pervasive intelligence that lies at the heart of nature, and is manifest in each of us through intuitive knowledge.”

Keep in mind Deepak was a mainstream medicine guy before he ever became the New Age guru we know him to be today. He’s written more than 70 books, including 21 New York Times bestsellers – virtually all of them integrating a holistic view of wellness and expansive human potential with a view of soul-tastic evolution steeped in scientific principles. In other words, when he’s the one talking about “a great, pervasive intelligence at the heart of human nature,” he’s not just saying that to be cool. He’s folding in years of experience with and investigation into brain science, philosophy, spirituality, biology, physiology, and breakthroughs in the fields of alternative medicine.

If you’re biased against smarty-pants-doctors and New York Times bestselling authors as some people are, you can always take in what Alan Alda has to say about this mysterious human superpower called Intuition and its role in our creative expansion:

“The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.”

The WILDERNESS of our Intuition…

Yes, that’s a lovely way to put it.

In our culture, we have built cities around our linear and logical selves, and have abandoned the lush resources and beauty of our wildernesses. We simply rely too much on our over-worked brains to lead us through life, and before we know it, the ride is over, and we never did quite get around to what we were put on this Earth to do. (See Day 5: Your Purpose.)

Not to blame our parents, school systems, political leaders, or any other institution that should have been a wee bit more interested in sharing crucial information with us about how best to navigate our lives and make the most of our gifts and potential – but “Tapping Into Your Intuition” isn’t exactly part of the Reading-Writing-Arithmetic curriculum.

The importance of Intuition, the effectiveness of it, isn’t exactly celebrated overtly. Especially in what’s becoming more and more a data-driven, quantification-addicted environment.

“BIG DATA” – collections of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications – is an especially huge threat to Intuition’s rich and bountiful wilderness.

“The information is there to be had,” the data dudes say. “We must get it and analyze it and send it to more analysts for further analysis before we make any sort of decision on anything!”

Alas, more information is not always better.

“Listening to the data is important, they say, but so is experience and intuition. After all, what is intuition at its best but large amounts of data of all kinds filtered through a human brain rather than a math model?” – Steve Lohr, “Sure, Big Data Is Great. But So Is Intuition.” via NYTimes.com

Ahhhh, fascinating. It seems we’ve arrived at the place where the big question lives:

Is the human brain – or rather, the human body, mind, and spirit – more effective at making decisions than logic and data and the scientific method and everything else that dwells most comfortably on the left side of the cranium?

Along with Einstein, these two gentlemen seem to have their opinions on the subject fairly worked out:

“Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next.” – Jonas Salk

“There can be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis.” – Malcolm Gladwell

And then there’s the way our Intuition actually cooperates with our brain:

“‘Just like the brain, there are neurotransmitters in the gut that can respond to environmental stimuli and emotions in the now — it’s not just about past experiences,’ [says Judith Orloff, MD, author of Guide to Intuitive Healing: Five Steps to Physical, Emotional, and Sexual Wellness]. When those neurotransmitters fire, you may feel the sensation of ‘butterflies’ or uneasiness in your stomach. Researchers theorize that ‘gut instinct,’ which sends signals to your brain, plays a large role in intuition.” – Colleen Oakley, The Power of Female Intuition, via WebMD.com

Go with your gut. Got it.

So, what’s the problem? Why are so many people scared of even the idea of “Intuition,” often casting it off into the dismissed heaps of soft skills that are cute and campy but not really useful in our results-driven world?

“We see that the intellect, so skillful in dealing with the inert, is awkward the moment it touches the living. Whether it wants to treat the life of the body or the life of the mind, it proceeds with the rigor, the stiffness and the brutality of an instrument not designed for such use.

[…]

The intellect is characterized by a natural inability to comprehend life. 

Instinct, on the contrary, is molded on the very form of life. While intelligence treats everything mechanically, instinct proceeds, so to speak, organically.” – Henri Bergson, French philosopher and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, via Maria Popova on BrainPickings.org

Wow, those Nobel Prize-winning French philosophers sure sound smart.

Even when our logic-based society isn’t dissing Intuition’s practical magic, our own inner saboteurs are hard at work, blocking our natural impulses and abilities to grow and evolve…

“Fear, desire, and panic can all get in the way of intuition. It’s important to really focus on that inner voice.” – Judith Orloff

Enough of that! We’ve learned too much together over these past weeks to give Fear and all its bully friends any more power over our lives.

Tapping into our Intuition is about seeing, feeling, sensing, and processing patterns, both in the vast world around us and in the cosmic soup of our rich inner universes.

Our linear minds tell us a fraction of our “realities.” Intuition is an enlightened intelligence that flows far beyond and through our allegedly rational minds. Ideas collide. Experiences mesh. Patterns emerge. We see them, feel them, and KNOW THEM. We’ve pressed the override button long enough. We must re-learn how to honor our intuitive gifts – our intuitive ways of being – and let them guide us to and through the lives we were born to live.

“Close both eyes to see with the other eye.” –Rumi

Do you feel like you’ve lost touch with this uber-powerful internal guidance system? Here are seven easy ways to tap into your Intuition, so you can explore and amplify your awesome and radiant POSSIBILITIES:

1)   Meditate

2)   Go into nature

3)   Journal

4)   Close your eyes and LISTEN – to your inner voice, as well as to the cues and clues around you

5)   Open yourself up – whether physically with yoga, or by seeking and joining new communities of people who elevate your ideas and spice up your views of the world

6) Follow Your Enthusiasm

“’When you’re trying to make a new decision, pay attention to what feels exciting and energizing and what you’re curious about,’ [said Lynn A. Robinson, M.Ed., … author of … Divine Intuition: Your Inner Guide to Purpose, Peace and Prosperity]. Enthusiasm is one way intuition guides us toward our personal path to success. If something is boring or draining, try to move away from it, she said.” – Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S., “Connecting to Your Intuition to Enhance Your Life,” via PsychCentral.com.

7) Make Space for Your Intuition!

“You get your intuition back when you make space for it, when you stop the chattering of the rational mind. The rational mind doesn’t nourish you. You assume that it gives you the truth, because the rational mind is the golden calf that this culture worships, but this is not true. Rationality squeezes out much that is rich and juicy and fascinating.” – Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Choose rich and juicy and fascinating. Play on the side of your Infinite Possibilities!

Be your Possibility’s greatest advocate. Lean on and into your Intuition. It’s there to serve you, with customized knowledge and insight into who you are and who you’re meant to be.

See the rabbit holes, go with your gut, and dive on in.

(C’mon, you know you want to.)

Your Intuition will guide you to the next phase of the adventure with inimitable grace, confidence, and panache.

 

Watch the video for Tapping Into Your Intuition (recorded at 4am) here!

 

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Enjoying this 31 Days of Possibility series? Why not share it with your friends and favorite connections so they can go on this adventure with you and expand their own possibilities! Share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram – wherever you like to connect and play the most. 

And if you’d like to connect with us on any of these channels, please make it happen! 

You can find us on Twitter at @LaniVoivod@AllenVoivod@EpiphaniesInc@AhaSummit, and @AhaYourself. Plus, you’re always welcome to ask questions, give feedback, and share some of your own experiences (and hopefully your big “A-Ha!” victories along the way), here in the comments, and on the Epiphanies, Inc. Facebook Page. Allen and I love to hear from you. Here’s to you and your vast and wondrous possibilities!